4 July 2012 – Reaching the Rajdhani
The domestic help of the Sudhanshus had given the car a complete makeover overnight. Sudhanshu certified the departure details in the specified format and Karan piloted me to the highway saving me precious time. The road condition right up to Delhi was a mixture of the very good and okay. Jhansi-Gwalior was tough and quite some time was lost in the movement through the cities of Gwalior and Agra for the highways weave through the city. Jhansi was quiet for the electiosn to the local bodies were on. All shops and establishments were closed. En route the Muthoot teams certified the journey at Lalitpur, Jhansi, Gwalior, Agra, Mathura and on arrival in Delhi at the Heritage Inn Hotel near the ISBT. At Agra a local NGO gave me a certificate appreciating my journey. The youngsters drawn to the cause from various purely for altruistic reasons have taken up many local issues.
I have thus far travelled over NH7, 34, 26, 75, 3 and 2 while getting into Delhi from Kanyakumari. NH7, to me, is far superior to the other stretches, with NH1 a close second. During the day, near Agra, I suffered my second bird hit. The first was when I was racing the Express train near Dindigul. These incidents made me wonder whether I was going too fast or if the birds have gotten slower?
Sanjeeb Halder has been a dear friend since the days of probation in the Indian Railways. I will never forget the day he ‘entertained’ my ‘father-in-law to be’ in a guest house in Chennai by serving him tea out of a beer bottle. When I got the invite to attend his son’s wedding reception in Delhi I recast my travel schedule a bit to accommodate the function at 8 pm in the Sardar Patel Marg Officer’s Club. I used a combination of the Metro and an Auto to get to the venue. There were many known faces who had come from the South and others based in Delhi. After a round of pleasantries and exchange of business information I got to meet the newlyweds and their parents. I could not spend more time at the venue for I had to get back to the hotel and rest before the drive tomorrow morning.